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GURUGRAM: A path opened up for Rapid Metro on Friday to avert a dead end with the decks being cleared for a government takeover of the privately run corridor that has been weathering a storm ever since its parent company, the infrastructure giant IL&FS, crashed.

On the same day the government rushed to the Punjab and Haryana high court with a petition to terminate the closure notice served by Rapid Metro — in which the company said it can’t run trains from September 9 (Monday) — Justice D K Jain (retd), the former Supreme Court judge mandated to oversee the IL&FS resolution process, allowed Rapid Metro to hand over the metro link on or before September 9 to Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP).

Justice Jain, who has been appointed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), has also said in his directive that HSVP will be free to engage the services of Rapid Metrorail Gurugram Ltd (RMGL) at mutually discussed charges to run the metro link till an appropriate arrangement was made.

According to highly placed sources, the cost of operating the Rapid Metro (including salaries of employees) per month is around Rs 4.5 to Rs 5 crore. In case the Haryana government plans to engage the services of RMGL to operate the metro, it will have to shell out this amount.

“There is just one working day, if you exclude the weekend, for the Haryana government to take a concrete step,” a source said. “Neither HSVMP nor HMRTCL (Haryana Mass Rapid Transport Corporation Limited) has any expertise in operating a metro. The possibility of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) taking it over completely in a couple of days looks slim as well. In such a situation, keeping aside what the high court finally decides in the hearing on Monday, it looks that the Haryana government will have to shell out the money to keep the metro operational. One thing is for sure that train operations will continue after September 9,” the source added.

Despite repeated attempts, D Suresh who is the chief administrator of HSVP as well as chief of HMRTCL, could not be reached for a comment.

The country’s first fully privately financed rapid metro project was built by IL&FS, which is now facing bankruptcy proceedings in the NCLAT, and had commenced operations in November 2013. Its second phase began in March 2017. Rapid Metro Rail Gurugram Limited (RMGL) and Rapid Metro Rail Gurugram South Limited (RMGSL) are the two special purpose vehicles (SPVs) running the metro services since 2013 and 2017, respectively.

“Due to various breaches in contract by HSVP, the two SPVs had served termination notices to on June 7, giving a 90 days’ notice as per the concession agreement,” an IL&FS spokesperson said. “Justice D K Jain, after hearing all parties concerned involved, on Friday allowed RMGL to hand over the metro link on or before September 9 to HSVP, upholding the termination notice served by the company on June 7,” an IL&FS spokesperson said.

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